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The Big Story

Nissan thrives in China, thanks to Ghosn

Against flailing US business, an unlikely bright spot for the embattled automaker

KENJI KAWASE, Nikkei Asian Review chief business news correspondent | China

TOKYO -- Two months before Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping unveiled his "reform and opening-up" policy in December 1978, the then-vice premier undertook a tour of Japanese industry. Visiting Nissan Motor's Zama plant on the outskirts of Tokyo, Deng was reportedly mesmerized by the factory's sophistication. Even then, most of the production was automated, and the facility was able to manufacture 94 cars per worker, per year.

"I understood what modernization was about," Deng told his host, then-Nissan Chairman Katsuji Kawamata.

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